311. I Come with Joy to Meet My Lord

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Text Information
First Line: I come with joy to meet my Lord
Title: I Come with Joy to Meet My Lord
Author: Brian Wren (1970)
Publication Date: 1987
Meter: CM
Scripture: ;
Topic: Lord's Supper; Obedience
Language: English
Copyright: Text © 1971, Hope Publishing Co. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Tune Information
Harmonizer: Annabel Morris Buchanan (1938)
Meter: CM
Key: F Major

Text Information:

Scripture References:
st. 1 = Gal. 1:4

Brian A. Wren (b. Romford, Essex, England, 1936) wrote this communion hymn in Hockley, Essex, England, in July 1968 and revised it in 1970. The text was first published in the Canadian Anglican-United Hymn Book (1971); he revised it again in 1982 and 1995. Wren wrote this text to summarize a series of sermons on the meaning of the Lord's Supper, specifically as a post-sermon hymn to help illustrate the presence of Christ in the sacrament. He states that he wanted to express this

as simply as possible, in a way that would take the worshipper (probably without . . . recognizing it) from the usual individualistic approach to communion ("I come") to an understanding of its essential corporateness ("we'll go").

Wren has carefully worked out the progression from "I" to "we." This text contains themes of remembrance (st. 1), of sharing the bread and wine in communion with the saints (st. 2-3) and with Christ in his presence (st. 4), and of Christian service (st. 5), but the prevailing tone is one of joy and praise.

Wren is a major British figure in the revival of contemporary hymn writing. He studied French literature at New College and theology at Mansfield College in Oxford, England. Ordained in 1965, he was pastor of the Congregational Church (now United Reformed) in Hockley and Hawkwell, Essex, from 1965 to 1970. He worked for the British Council of Churches and several other organizations involved in fighting poverty and promoting peace and justice. This work resulted in his writing of Education for Justice (1977) and Patriotism and Peace (1983). With a ministry throughout the
English-speaking world, Wren now resides in the United States where he is active as a freelance lecturer, preacher, and full-time hymn writer. His hymn texts are published in Faith Looking Forward (1983), Praising a Mystery (1986), Bring Many Names (1989),New Beginnings (1993), and Faith Renewed: 33 Hymns Reissued and Revised (1995), as well as in many modern hymnals. He has also produced What Language Shall I Borrow? (1989), a discussion guide to inclusive language in Christian worship.

Liturgical Use:
Lord's Supper–sing entire hymn before or during the Lord's Supper; perhaps save stanza 5 for a doxology afterwards.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

LAND OF REST is an American folk tune with roots in the ballads of northern England and Scotland. It was known throughout the Appalachians; a shape-note version of the tune was published in The Sacred Harp (1844) and titled NEW PROSPECT as the setting for "O land of rest! for thee I sigh." The tune was published again with that same text in J. R. Graves's Little Seraph (Memphis, 1873). The name LAND OF REST derives from the tune's association with that text.

The tune was known to Annabel M. Buchanan (b. Groesbeck, TX, 1888; d. Paducah KY, 1983), whose grandmother sang it to her as a child. She harmonized the tune and published it in her Folk Hymns of America (1938), noting similarities between this tune and the tune for "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" (616).

Known especially as a musicologist of American folk music, Buchanan was educated at the Landon Conservatory, Dallas, Texas, and the Guilmant Organ School, New York City. She taught at several colleges, including Stonewall Jackson College, Abingdoll, Virginia. Buchanan published numerous articles on folk traditions of the Appalachian area of the United States. She also lectured widely on this topic and gave recitals of folk music. Her own compositions also show the influence of folk music.

Like many other folk tunes, LAND OF REST should be sung rather lightly and energetically with two pulses per measure, and faster in a small group. Sing stanzas 1 and 2 in unison (or using a soloist) and stanzas 3 through 5 in harmony.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

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